I am a member of a Facebook group called New Business : Next Steps, run by Ann Hawkins and Ed Goodman, authors of an excellent book by the same name. Ann often bookends our working week with some good questions about what we’d like to achieve, and how we’re getting on.
Lately I’ve been feeling lost, and somewhat withdrawn. These are things that happen from time to time, that’s life, etcetera. I’m no complaining, just acknowledging. When I feel like this, I tend to withdraw from responding to Ann’s questions too. Lately I’ve been nurturing a bias for action, so today, I chose to reply to this prompt from Ann:
Check in Friday: What was the most useful thing you did this week that made a difference to your business?
Here’s how I replied.
Wrote 4,000 words towards my book.
Asked people in my network for help with some questions to provoke more content for the book.
Kicked off plans for a Berlin/London art meets work mini tour.
Made a conscious effort to stream my thinking and to do stuff, it’s been far too messy lately.
Wrote a farewell email to a group I’ve been working with.
Attended the quarterly business review of a partnership I joined a few months ago. Doing this helped me see first hand and in more detail, the exciting work we can do together.
Shared a video of my talk about the art and soul of better work from this year’s All About People event.
Made what I think is a lovely piece of art for my weekly local free art drop.
Clearly I cheated, this is not the most useful thing I did this week, it is several useful things. Are they the right things? Who knows, and what they are, is evidence that in among the doubt, I am taking action. Thank you for the prompt, Ann.
I doubt myself sometimes, and I know from experience that you do too. It’s OK, no one is listening – this is just between you and me. My own doubt is partly driven by the fact that I believe so many of the things we need to do to make work better are so utterly simple, that when I think them, let alone propose them, they, and therefore me, seem somehow ridiculous.
I believe we work better together. Some of the things that help us do this are:
Giving, building and having trust
Noticing one another
Getting to know ourselves better
Getting to know each other better
Keeping things simple wherever possible
Accepting that small things can and do make big differences
Having open access to information, which means we can cocreate power with each other, not exercise power over one another
Recognising that creativity is not binary. You don’t just switch it on, you adjust the dials and tease it out. Don’t fear it, play with it, iterate.
Having meaningful conversations
Finding out what brings joy to one another, and then – try to cocreate the conditions to make that happen
Agreeing that respect is not a zero sum game. I want to lift you at the same time as you lift me, or put another way, my success is not dependent on putting you down.
Being coactive – that is to say doing things with, for and by each other, not to each other
Practicing – our work is our art
That’s enough for now. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t forget to doubt yourself from time to time:
Thanks Sharon, Julia, Meg, Gareth, John and Richard for a crescendo of compelling conversation yesterday. I’ve had this post in draft for months and you all helped contribute and free it up.
For every pack of Stop Doing Dumb Things ordered in December I’m making a small donation to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity. If you’ve been meaning to order some cards for yourself or as a gift to others, now might be a good time? Thanks for your support.